The U.S. House Stimulus Debate

The House Rules Committee has decided the parameters of the debate Wednesday on the $825 billion economic stimulus bill, and there’s been a few changes along the way.

Along with striking the language on family planning (contraceptives) from the bill, Democrats have also taken out $200 million in money for revitalization of the National Mall here in Washington, D.C.

Another change requires $15 million in historic preservation funding for the National Park Service be set aside for Historically Black Colleges.  It also waives the “institutional match” for these purposes – in other words – the schools aren’t paying for anything.

There is an interesting addition that requires states to notify the feds within 45 days of the approval of this bill as to whether they are interested in receiving funding from it.  It’s not clear to me what that’s all about.

Also the bill waives the local government matching requirements and the limits on salaries for two years of extra funding of the COPS program, which is a program that helps police forces hire extra officers.

Eleven amendments have been allowed in this debate.  Several seem interesting, like one that would add $3 billion in transit funding.  That’s backed by a number of big city Democrats.

Republicans will get the chance to strike funding in the bill for Amtrak.  Another amendment would get rid of all the spending provisions in the legislation.

The GOP will also get the chance to present their own plan at the end of the debate.  You can see it at http://www.rules.house.gov/111/SpecialRules/hr1/111_hr1_camp11.pdf

That plan cuts income taxes for the bottom two brackets, includes alternative minimum tax relief, small business deduction, bonus depreciation, small business expensing, expanded carryback of net operating losses, improved home buyer credit, unemployment benefit tax exemption, health insurance premium deduction, repeal of 3 percent withholding requirement for government contractors and an extension of unemployment benefits.

You can see all of this at http://www.rules.house.gov/SpecialRules_details.aspx?NewsID=4134